Was he right, the child in Andersen’s tale? Was he right, Emmanuel Macron, to reveal that the emperor was naked, declaring, in the columns of the Economist, the “brain death” of NATO, before adding that the rule of putting a ceiling on public deficit of 3 percent of the GDP also belonged to another century?

“Untimely”, Angela Merkel commented on the interview, but if the Chancellor found the president of the Republic’s words “radical”, is it because they held too radical truths? Because, in the end, when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, it was the time when the Iron Curtain was falling down in the middle of Europe, whereas last Friday we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. In 1949, the USSR, its tanks and the development of its nuclear arsenal posed a threat for Western Europe, but there is no more Soviet Union, since 1991, and Russia has lost Ukraine in addition to the loss of Central Europe.

Sixty years ago, without the Atlantic alliance, the European democracies would have been nothing else but powerless prey. In those days, the United States did not want to abandon them to the USSR, but in 2016, even before being elected, Mr Trump questioned the automaticity of the American defensive umbrella, and he has never missed an opportunity since then to inform us that our security is not his problem, but ours.

Donald Trump only repeats what Barack Obama had already told us mezza voce. We have to admit that it is not wrong, and at the time when the Turkish army, the second largest in the NATO equips itself in Russia before it marches against the Kurdish fighters who had defeated Daesh, we have to ask ourselves about the health condition of an alliance, which the United States no longer sees necessary, because it is more concerned about China anyway than about Europe and the Middle East.

No matter how worrying the void of this interim period, no matter how sad Mrs Merkel feels, the NATO is naked and the convergence criteria are no less obsolete. Even in France, this second truth has caused grunting, but, facing the current challenges, what do we need more? To economise or to invest? To relaunch our economies or to balance our budgets? To wait that the rates climb again or to profit from the possibility of borrowing for almost nothing?

Everyone knows the answer. This orthodoxy is just as naked as the NATO, but the Chancellor asks: is it wise to tell the whole truth?

Well, yes, Mrs Merkel, as it happens, yes it is, three times yes it is. Because imagine that Emmanuel Macron had just declared, more politely, that Europe should invest more and take its security in its own hands. Who would have listened to him then? Who would have understood that France was forcing its backward partners to respond, now and not some day in the far future, to questions it poses because they are posed to every country, urgently.

Very perceptibly in the Parlament, there is now a consensus in the Union on the necessity of laying the bases of a Common Defence, of investing in future industries and asserting Europe as a player on the international scene. It is something new. It is good news, too, but do we have the chance to wait even another single day to turn this consensus into action?

No, we do not, because it is from today on that we should be strong enough to guarantee the stability of the European continent, to engage in a co-development with the southern shore of the Mediterranean and to become frontrunners of the energy transition and of the industrial revolution, that of artificial intelligence, which we cannot miss out on, as we did yesterday with the transformation of digital technology and of the internet.

The emperor is naked. We have to put his clothes back on, all of them and immediately.

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